Friday, January 30, 2009

Adventures in Healthcare - episode XIIV

I promise this will not be a long, drawn out, frighteningly TMI post about universal healthcare. I know in the past I have ranted hysterically but I won't do that today. I won't do that because I have fantastic insurance now. I love my insurance so much I would marry it if I wasn't already married to Bob. However, I am married to Bob and some of you may remember that I almost lost him in September.


After his accident he was transported by ambulance to a local hospital ($798), then airlifted to the regional trauma center in Seattle ($14,000). I wasn't there, of course, and he wasn't conscious, so we didn't know that there was another ambulance at the end of the helicopter ride to transport him emergency room of the hospital. I never would have expected that. Since the landing pad is on top of the garage directly across from the hospital, and there are several walkways from the garage to the hospital, I just assumed that there was an elevator and hallway into the emergency room.


I was amazed to learn that they actually landed and then loaded his stretcher into an ambulance with an entirely different crew who then drove around the block and into the ambulance bay of the hospital. It doesn't even make sense but that's how they do it. I'm sure that there must be good reasons for this... far be it from me to question the gods of trauma medicine. (The same gods who missed not one, not two, but four additional injuries and discharged him after three days of observation with an undiagnosed BROKEN NECK.)


Whatever the reason.. the multiple ambulance procedure is how it's done. Apparently the final ambulance company didn't get our correct insurance information so a few weeks ago I received a bill from them ($859 for one block) which I forwarded to our new insurance company.

Yesterday I got a love note notice from the beloved insurance company. They have denied the claim for the final ambulance ride. When I called them, to inquire why they had withdrawn their loving support, I was told that there is a limit to how much emergency treatment you can receive in one day and we had one transport too many on that day. The customer service agent actually asked me, after I explained the whole thing, "Did you call for the ambulance to transport him to the trauma center?" I think he was a bit bothered by my maniacal laughter. He transferred me to a supervisor who has promised to have the claim reviewed.

Feel the love.

15 comments:

Sarah said...

Oh hon - I'm so sorry!! Seems like any hospital stay becomes a huge financial mess!! Hugs and hang in there!!! How is you DH doing now??

Leeann said...

This has been an almost inconceivable nightmare for you guys. Seriously, it is unbelievably frightening how drawn out and EXPENSIVE this has been for you guys.

Love and hugs,
Leeann

Ginaagain said...

Hi Sarah and Leeann, I do need to stress that I'm really not complaining. Bob is alive and healing. Unfortunately the nerve damage to his left arm and hand has not improved much but it could be so much worse. The issue that I pray hardest about is his pain. I hope that physical therapy will help him begin to feel better (if the dr releases him to PT in Feb.)

Financially it could have been so much worse also. I'm not kidding when I say I love my insurance company. They aren't perfect and it can be annoying to work through the errors but they have paid the majority of our claims without problems. Bob's neck surgery in November was over 100K and our portion of it is $300. I honestly can't complain. But I'm also not going to pay for an ambulance bill that is clearly ridiculous. If the insurance company wants to fight it I will gladly fight by their side.

Sara Moriarty-delaFuente said...

stories like this boogle the mind. really!?!

I will pray for your hubster. And know you don't ever have to apologize for ranting hysterically. We all do it and I myself have willing ears. You have support out here in the blogosphere. :)

hugs and well wishes

nicrogers said...

Gina, seriously. Call the ambulance company and tell them you will pay them (insert number here that you feel is reasonable). I would say 100.00. That is more than enough for their a. time, b. gas, c. replacing the paper sheets on the stretcher. Good grief! A friend of mine's daughter fell off her bike and broke her collar bone. She took her to the hospital. They x-ray'd it. The radiologist said it is broken. The nurse wrapped it and then discharged them. They got a bill from the ER doc for the setting of the collar bone. At the tune of 800.00. Well, they had never even set one eye ball on that ER doc. So she called him and told him no way was she paying him for setting her daugters broken bone when he was not even there. She said the nurse set it. She would pay him 50.00 for reading the x-ray(by the way, she was self-pay- no insurance since they are self employed). The doc agreed. No arguments or anything. So I say, go for it! Worth a try!

JCK said...

Gina, I'm so sorry that you have to deal with this on top of the trauma of your husband recovering. Wading through insurance - the time it takes for calls, follow-up, etc., is exhausting. Even if you love your insurance. Sending hugs your way.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Remember that John Grisham novel/movie "The Rainmaker"? It was about insurance companies and how they stick it to us. Ack! I'm sorry. I hope it all gets worked out. The main thing is that Bob is on the mend, I know.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

After my mother died a recieved a bill for a visit she had made to the emergency room. They denied it because it wasn't really an emergency. Since she died 3 weeks later from that which brought her to the emergency room I strongly disagreed. They eventuall saw the light.

Good luck with this--it's not like you need the stress.

Tiffany said...

Seriously Gina. What a DUMB question he asked. WHAT??? "Yes, I called the HELICOPTER pilot and asked that they give Bob a ride for a block." Dude.

Please let us know.

Ginaagain said...

Thanks for all the support you guys. It really is helpful to have people who understand.

Renee said...

I have not heard your story with the medical system yet, but I plan too. That is horrible.

To deal with this when one is in crisis for a loved one is ridiculous.

Hope your husband is doing wellnow.

Renee

soanywaytoday said...

Hi, 1st time visitor thanks to one heart...
I read your post here and just had to laugh.
I am in claims, homeowners and auto, and I just have to say I HATE health insurance companies... not to insult anyone here but they either don't hire the brightest in the bunch or they don't train or better yet, maybe they do train there people on how to ask idiotic questions.
I hope everything works out in the end. I am sure you know you should have some medical coverage on your auto insurance as well.

CarolinaMomOf5 said...

What a mess. I cannot stand dealing with health insurance companies. I'm glad you have one that pays well. What a blessing! And Bob remains in my prayers for healing.

Jason, as himself said...

You have got to be kidding.

Dealing with stuff like this makes you question mankind in general.

I'm so sorry this has all been so awful.

Karen MEG said...

Maniacal laughter I'm sure!!! That's absolutely CRAZY for you to have to pay for something that doesn't make sense to begin with ... I'm sure they'll straighten it out for you once they see how ridiculous it is.

Hope Bob is continuing to recover well...hugs to you and the family...